Thursday, August 31, 2017

A Monastery Summer

This summer has been a challenge for us here at Mount Calvary Monastery.   A challenge which I believe we have met rather well.

Summer for us began with our annual trip to the Chapter of the Order of the Holy Cross at Holy Cross Monastery, West Park NY.   At that Chapter we said thank you to Robert Sevensky, our Superior for the last nine years, and elected his successor for a six year term, Robert James Magliula.  Rob came to us after a distinguished career as a parish priest in upstate New York.  He was stationed for some time at Grahamstown, South Africa, but has not spent much time in California.  We are encouraging him to fill that gap as soon as he can.

At that Chapter Br. Bob Pierson, part of our community here for some three years, was asked to move to West Park to be the Novice Master for that community.  We gave our community's blessing and sent him on his way on Sunday, July 16.  He drove a rented car east, stopping on the way to visit family and friends.  We wish him every joy and success in that important ministry.  Tom, Will and I form the community here now.

Which obviously presents some problems:  How can three guys, one in each decade advancing from the 70s through the 80s and into the 90s, keep things humming along here at Mount Calvary?     Because they have been humming!  Our retreat ministry is steadily growing, both in numbers and in the spiritual intentions of our retreatants.  We made a list of the things the three of us can't do and decided to fill those gaps with a rearrangement of present staff duties, and the addition of a Tuesday cook and an evening and weekend dishwasher.  And what do you know?  It is working!  Welcome Sascha, a retired television producer who loves to cook, and Socorro, who was our dishwasher before but who had to leave to help her parents, and whose situation has now improved.

Our appeal last fall did well, but not so well that we didn't have to rearrange projects.  We now have a new hot water system for the Guest House, a new (and much larger) grease trap for the food services area, and new roofing on the patio pavilions behind the Guest House.  We decided to put off the woodpecker holes for the time being and to rearrange the work on the Cottage.  When that work is done in early October the Cottage will be insulated, have a new and more private bathroom, bigger and better doors, and air conditioning.  In addition we repainted and recarpeted the Priest's Suite in the Guest House.  And the icing on the cake: We decided to repaint the Chapel, made necessary by a heating system filter malfunction.  The big change there is a lovely new white color on the ceiling to replace the flat bone white there before.

The repainting and recarpeting was done during our 10-day silent retreat, not ideal but necessary because of our active retreat ministry schedule.  Nevertheless, the three of us enjoyed our time of  quiet, praying the Daily Office and Eucharist in temporary but quite pleasant space in the Guest House library room.

The weather this summer has been mostly cool, usually in the 70's.  Only this week has it begun daily to reach into the 80's.  We are conscious of how blessed we are to be suffering only an occasional peak into the low 90's when so many others are in the 100's.  In fact, some retreatants , like a pastor from Bakersfield, decided that a week of retreat here during the heat was a very good idea!

The Lord has looked with favor on us this summer, turning challenges into blessings!   

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